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Dam-break: Effect of Water Content in Tailings vs Run-out Distance

Dam-break: Effect of Water Content in Tailings vs Run-out Distance

Author: Diego Inzunza, Jorge León
Conference: Tailings 2019
Date: July 10-12, 2019

In current regulatory frameworks, dam breach and tailings run-out modelling of tailing storage facilities is a requirement and a matter of increasing interest within the regulatory agencies and practitioners. Increased levels of densification of impounded tailing materials by means of alternative tailing deposition technologies, by means of installation of wick drains, or by loading the surface of the impoundment with waste rock, all generate a change in the interstitial pressure of the tailing column that may lead to densification and an increase of the rheology of the settled tailings. In the case of run-out analyses, we present a sensitivity analysis of the effect of the degree of consolidation at the time of a dam breach on the run-out distance potential. The results show a decrease of up to 16% in the maximum area reached by the outflow due to the increase in the degree of consolidation. The incorporation of the relative effect of densification methods and the resulting change in rheology represents a progress in understanding the critical elements that drive the potential for downstream impact of a dam breach event.


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